AWB Chairman, Brendan Stewart said an overwhelming majority of A class (wheat grower) shareholders have voted to support Constitutional reform at the adjourned A class shareholders meeting in Melbourne.
“The Returning Officer from Computershare Investor Services has confirmed that 77 per cent of votes cast by A class shareholders were in favour of the reform resolution proposed by the majority of the Board,” Mr Stewart said. “The yes vote exceeds the 75 per cent threshold in the AWB Constitution required to implement governance reform.”
Independent scrutineers, Ernst & Young, have reported to AWB that they found no exceptions from the procedures that they performed at the request of AWB which they undertook in relation to the vote conducted by the Returning Officer from Computershare Investor Services.
Mr Stewart said the short adjournment of the shareholders meeting on 21 August enabled a substantial number of A class shareholders to vote and that the vast majority supported reform.
“Total shareholder participation increased from 27 per cent to 44 per cent during the adjournment period, and just over 50 per cent of all eligible votes were cast,” he said. “This vindicates the decision to adjourn the 21 August meeting and allow those A class shareholders who had not voted additional time to participate on this critical issue.”
Mr Stewart said the shareholder vote for reform was a decisive result and AWB would now move quickly to fully implement all the consequential governance and operational actions arising from the reforms.
“As required by the Constitution, AWB has instructed Computershare Investor Services to redeem all A class shares and the Board will now convene another shareholder meeting to approve a new commercial Constitution,” he said.
“All A class Directors will retire when shareholders approve the new Constitution but current B class and Additional Directors will remain in place. All subsequent Director appointments to the new Board of AWB Limited will require approval by B class shareholders.
“AWB has applied for accreditation under the new wheat export marketing arrangements and will continue to fulfil all its contractual obligations arising from the 2007/08 National Pool and ensure that Pool participants receive all outstanding financial entitlements.“
Mr Stewart called on those who had opposed reform to accept the outcome and for all parties to unite with the majority of the Board and management to ensure a competitive AWB under the new wheat export marketing arrangements.
“On behalf of the Board, I wish to thank all those who actively supported reform as this is the right result for the company and allows AWB to move forward into the next phase of its history as a fully commercial enterprise,” he said.
Peter McBride Belinda Seal
Media Relations Manager Investor Relations Manager
Tel: (03) 9209 2174 Tel: (03) 9209 2887
Mob: 0417 662 451 Mob: 0438 535 975
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